"Hey Willy," Kate greeted him as he entered the kitchen.
"Hi," Willy replied as he joined ALF at the kitchen table.
"How was the club scout meeting?" She asked as she stirred the spaghetti sauce in the pot on the stove.
"Great," Willy answered, "it seems as though they're going to take a trip."
"Really?" Kate said as she sprinkled last minute spices into the sauce. "What kind of trip?"
"Uh, well -," Willy began to tell Kate.
"Are they going rock climbing?" ALF asked, "cause if they are, I think I'll come along. I just can't forget my sunscreen."
"No, they're not," Willy assured ALF, "they're going to -,"
"Swimming?" ALF interrupted and attempted to guess once again.
"Would you…..could you please just let me finish?" Willy asked ALF calmly.
"Sorry," ALF snapped.
"What I was trying to say before I was so rudely interrupted," Willy directed the comment towards ALF, "is that Brian and his scout troop are going to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park to participate in their summer camp program."
"Oh how fun," Kate smiled.
"Like where Yogi the Bear lives?" ALF perked up.
"Yeah," A goofy smile appeared on Willy's face as he answered ALF.
"Kate," ALF glanced over towards the other side of the kitchen, "Aren't ya gonna flip out? I mean, there are real bears out there ya know."
"Well ALF," Kate wiped her hands on a dish towel, "summer camp is different than just regular camping. Sort of, safer I guess you could say."
"Yeah ALF," Willy grinned, "It's different."
"Like how?" ALF was curious about the summer camp theory.
"Well for example, instead of sleeping in tents, they sleep in log cabins, and the camp site is actually on the out skirts of the woods. Here, look." Willy laid a camp information pamphlet in front of ALF.
"I still don't understand why I can't go," ALF said at the dinner table, ten minutes later.
"Because people will see you," Willy said as he helped himself to a piece of warm, gooey garlic bread, "And besides, what would happen if you got lost? Then what?"
"Yeah ALF," Lynn took the plate of garlic bread from Willy, "Remember when we went on vacation with the motor home? You and Dad got into a fight?"
"Yeah and you left," Brian reminded, "and you ended up at that house where those guys lived?"
"Oh yeah," ALF said slowly as the memory entered his mind, "they thought I was an ant eater. Haaaa, ha, haaa." He laughed as he slammed his hand against the table.
"There's no electricity. That means no television." Willy informed ALF, "And I honestly don't think you could last that long without a television."
"There's no air conditioning either," Kate said as she finished a bite of food.
A horrified look came over ALF's face, "On second thought, have a great time, Brian. On the other hand, I still want to meet Yogi Bear."
"Yogi Bear is a cartoon character, ALF. He doesn't exist." Willy explained.
"Oh yeah? Tell that to the ranger." ALF's voice rose.
"We're going to get to do lots of cool stuff," Brian said excitedly, "We get to horse-back ride and swim. And there's crafts and other stuff too."
"You could do all of that stuff here," ALF pointed out.
"Not archery," Brian said.
"ALF," Willy spoke firmly, "If Brian wants to go to summer camp, he can go to camp, and that's that."
"Fine," ALF was forced to agree.
The room grew quiet and the only thing that could be heard was the soft clinging sound of forks scrapping and tapping the plates.
"So does this mean that I'm not going?" ALF jokingly asked, knowing that the question would annoy Willy.
"Oh brother," Willy rolled his eyes.
"Hey, just kidding Willy. Ha, haaa, ha. I kill me." ALF cackled.
The afternoon before leaving for camp had arrived. Willy and Brian were in the garage, busy with the task of collecting things that Brian would need for outdoor activities.
"Brian, are you sure a thermos is the last thing you need?" Willy said as he caught his breath.
"Yeah," Brian answered.
"I've went through every box up here at least once," Willy glanced around, "It's got to be here somewhere."
While Willy rummaged through the box closest to him on the top floor of the garage, ALF made his way into the garage. In his hand, he was holding a long tree branch with a soda can attached to the top of it.
"What is that?" Brian asked.
"Oh this?" ALF pushed the tree branch forward.
"Oh, this is just a little something I made for you to take with you," ALF explained, "I was reading in that pamphlet and it said that you would be going on several hikes through the woods in order to learn about certain plants and animals. And, well I got worried when I thought about all the wild things that are out there, especially the bears. So I made this for you."
"Well, it's not in that one," Willy said to himself as he pushed a box to the side.
"Say, what's he doing up there?" ALF asked Brian.
"I need a thermos to put water in," Brain explained.
"Oh, you mean this thing?" ALF walked over to the counter, pulling a thermos out from behind a pile of junk.
"Where did you get that?" Willy asked in a frustrated manner.
"From the same box you're looking in now," ALF innocently answered.
Willy sighed, "Well, why didn't you put it back where you found it?"
"I don't know," ALF said, "I forgot. I needed it to keep my coffee warm."
"Since when do you drink coffee?" Willy came down the steps.
"Well, I don't do it very often. It's only when they have "I Love Lucy" marathons and I don't want to keep getting up from the coffee table to go into the kitchen to get coffee." ALF explained, "My guess is, that's why they call it a coffee table."
"From now on, could you please try and remember to put things back from where you got them?" Willy asked nicely.
"Okay," ALF said.
"How does it work?" Brian touched the tree branch in ALF"s hand.
"Huh? Oh this," ALF realized what Brian was talking about, "It helps you fight off the bears."
Willy grabbed the soda can and shook it. The sound of several small beads bounced around inside the can, hitting the sides.
"Oh, I see," Willy thought he had the contraption figured out, "The noise is suppose to scare the bear away."
"No," ALF corrected Willy, "it just distracts the bear. See this way, you just shake the branch, which makes the can shake, which rattles the beads around. Then you just throw the stick at the bear and then you run."
"Oh, well that makes much more sense," Willy said sarcastically, "Please forgive me for not understanding the ability of your invention."
"Hey, don't criticize it," ALF defended, " Sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest results."
"I think it's neat," Brain smiled as he took it from ALF, "Thanks ALF."
"Hey, no problem B," ALF said.
The next day at 6:00 A.M sharp, ALF watched Brian get onto the Yellowstone National Park Camp bus from the living room window.
"Lucky," ALF said to himself as he watched the bus drive away.
Three days passed and even though Brian was gone, life went on in the Tanner household. Willy got up every morning and went to work and was home by five-thirty as always. Kate was busy with doing things around the house and running errands and Lynn managed to land a summer job as a check-out clerk at "Von's" – a grocery store about three miles from their house.
After finishing off two boxes of ice cream fudge bars, ALF plopped himself down in front of the television for an afternoon of cartoon watching. He turned to channel thirty-four just in time to see the ending credits for a Yogi Bear episode.
"Oh great, I just missed it." ALF said to himself, "I knew I shouldn't have eaten the whole second box."
"Don't worry, there's more of your favorite bear with the picnic basket up next. Stay tuned. The Yogi Bear marathon starts now." A voice said over top of the theme song as the last of the ending credits flashed across the screen.
ALF watched seven hours of Yogi Bear and he grew very tired of the ranger always taking picnic baskets from him.
"Why can't he just let him have one picnic basket?" ALF questioned as he tapped his furry fingers against the wooden coffee table. "I mean, who's it going to hurt?"
He muted the television and a crazy thought entered his head.
"Nah," He thought out loud, "I shouldn't." A few moments of silence passed and he changed his mind, "But then again, someone has to do it."
He ventured to the kitchen where he gathered up different things to put together the perfect picnic basket for Yogi.
"Perfect," He said as he looked at the counter top, lined with peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches, a plate of fried chicken, and several containers filled with mashed potatoes, pasta salad, and fresh watermelon, "now all I need is the basket." He said as he made his way to the closet in the living room, which was where Kate kept her good picnic basket.
ALF stole Willy's car keys, snuck out of the house, and drove off with the picnic basket. He'd stolen the car a couple of times before and each time it became easier and easier. He wasn't quite sure exactly where he was going to find Yogi, but where ever there was a picnic basket, Yogi would be there. Or, at least that's how it happened in the cartoons.
Finally, after a somewhat long trip, ALF arrived at Yellowstone National Park. He parked the car, locked the doors and began his journey through the woods with the picnic basket. The black sky sparkled with stars which was something that ALF saw all the time, but not quite like that. While ALF was caught up in the beauty of the twinkling specs in the sky, he was caught off guard by what sounded like a growl, coming from the trees in the distance.
"Yogi?" ALF whispered.
The trees ruffled. Something was coming towards him.
"Um, I'm looking for a bear that goes by the name of Yogi. Not to be confused the bear named Smokey…..Uh, do you know where I could –" ALF was interrupted.
A fairly large bear showed itself. ALF's mouth dropped open and a wave of panic came over him.
"Uh, here's a thought. How about you just give it to him for me?" ALF suggested as he started to back away.
The bear roared, letting ALF know that he was in the wrong territory.
"Okay uh, bad idea. On second thought, why don't you just keep the basket for yourself." ALF tossed the basket towards the bear and ran for it.
Luckily, the bear was distracted by the smell of the contents of the basket and ALF made it to the car safely, and drove away as fast as he could. On the way home, he had time to think about what he would tell Kate and Willy. He knew that Kate would be extremely upset because she and Willy had received that picnic basket as a wedding gift many years ago.
After making the long drive back home, ALF parked the car and quietly snuck through the back door into the kitchen. He decided to keep his mouth shut about the picnic basket until he could catch Willy and Kate at a good time.
The next week and a half passed by and Brian came home.
"Hey B!" Kate greeted Brian with a huge hug. "How was camp?"
"Great! I earned my swimming and archery patch." Brian was excited.
"Hey Bri," ALF said as he entered the living room.
"You'll never believe what I found," Brian said as he opened the front door.
He stepped out onto the front porch, and brought in a mangled picnic basket.
"Hey, that looks like-" A horrified look came over Kate's face.
"It is," Brian said, "I saw the little gold plate that has our last name on it. If you guys were in the area, why didn't you stop and visit?"
All eyes automatically turned to ALF.
"What?" ALF asked.
"ALF! You are in serious trouble!" Kate yelled as she took the remains of the picnic basket from Brian.
"Alright, alright." ALF began his confession, "It was me. I sort of watched the Yogi Bear marathon and I sort of made him a picnic and sort of took it to him."
"Okay, that's it," Willy's yelled, "No television for a week."
"Not even for the news?" ALF asked.
"No news, no nothing," Willy answered, "ALF, I told you Yogi Bear was a cartoon and that he wasn't real."
"I know. I found that out the hard way. And I'm really sorry." ALF's head hung in shame.
Seeing as though ALF had no television privileges for the next week, he had plenty of time on his hands to track down the company that the picnic basket had been ordered from and managed to have it recreated.
ALF placed the beautiful brand new picnic basket in the middle of the kitchen table and took a seat in front of it.
"Oh Willy, Kate! Could you guys come here for a second?" He yelled, knowing that they were in the living room, reading.
"ALF," Willy yelled back from the couch, "Why can't you come in here?"
"Just trust me on this one," ALF insisted.
Kate rolled her eyes, slammed her book shut and got up from the comfort of the soft couch. She made her way to the kitchen , with Willy following her.
"Surprise!" ALF smiled.
Kate's bad mood quickly shifted into good. Her eyes lit up with amazement as she covered her chest with her hand.
"How did you-" Kate was speechless.
She ran her hand over the freshly woven basket.
"It's just like our old one," Willy said.
"I tracked down the company that made it when you guys were married and had them recreate it," ALF explained.
"Oh ALF," Kate picked up the basket, "I just don't know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything," ALF said.
ALF agreed to go through with the rest of his punishment of no television.
"And the old ALFER comes through once again," He said after Willy and Kate had left the room.